2014 Travel Goals
One of my favorite parts about the beginning of the year is setting goals. Resolutions seem like a severe declaration against my innate behavior, but goals challenge me to be better and help me break out of my comfort zone. My goals fill numerous categories of personal, professional, financial, health, but most importantly TRAVEL goals. I always save them for last because they are the reward at the end of my goal setting.
Here are my 4 travel goals for 2014:
Improve My Travel Photography
When I first began traveling, photography was never my strong suit. I was more caught up in experiencing the food, culture and sights than capturing them. It was not until I had returned from my destination that I realized I wanted a better glimpse into my trip. I wanted to visually show people how good the food looked, how vibrant the culture felt, how incredible the architecture was. I wanted to relive the memories myself by bringing the photos to life. Off-centered, blurry shots did not conjure up positive images. While I do not expect to become a professional photographer overnight, more awareness is the first step and I want to pay more attention to my subjects, the lighting and the images I capture.
Take 12 Trips
While my Take 12 Trips officially started back in November with a trip to Portland, I will be continuing the challenge throughout 2014 with a trip each month, combining local destinations with travel abroad. It is a fantastic way to make sure I keep my travel perpetual and continue to explore new and old places alike. It also means I never have to wait too long for the next trip!
Travel to One New US State and One New Country
This is an ongoing goal that I have been challenging myself to complete since my early 20s. In 2013, I added Tennessee and Hungary to my places traveled and 2012 saw great experiences in Louisiana and Ireland. It is a nice way to ensure that I get to see a new part of my country and a new part of the world each year.
Take a Spontaneous Trip
As a natural born planner, I love the time leading up to my trip when I can research and plan, picture myself in the destination and get incredibly excited. And while I love planning ahead for the perks of early bird deals, nicely timed flights and well located hotels, what I have been longing for recently is a SPONTANEOUS trip. My parents most likely have their jaws on the table reading this because I was the five year old (and twenty-five year old) asking them if they had booked flights for our family vacation yet. I am always ready to get the big-ticket items booked and the vacation time secured before anything gets in the way. I ALMOST booked a last minute weekend trip to Chicago last fall when I found incredible flights. Why didn’t I do it? Because I had not processed the information long enough and did not act on it fast enough. So this year I am aiming to book a trip where I leave within the month and it would preferably involve a flight.
Where will these goals take me in 2014? As part of the Take 12 Trips Challenge, there promises to be at least 12 places to visit this year, but those have not all been decided yet. My January trip was supposed to be to New York City to visit my college roommates this weekend, but as I write this about 14 inches of snow have stranded me in my apartment. My friends in New York are experiencing similar conditions so it has been postponed. Hopefully, it will be rescheduled before the end of the month, but if not I may be looking for a spontaneous trip!
Here are some of my travel trends for the year:
Traveling with Friends
In the end of February / beginning of March, I will be heading to a top wanderlist destination of Austin, Texas with my high school friends. While it may shock many people, I have never been to Texas and this will be a new state for 2014. Live music, an up-and-coming food scene and an independent vibe will have me promising to help “Keep Austin Weird.”
Summer in New England is largely about local travel for me. With the warm weather, close proximity to local beaches and plentiful fresh seafood, there is nowhere I would rather be. While I have my favorites that make it into the rotation every summer, I am hoping to add an important destination this year, Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park. Another top wanderlist destination, I will not let another year pass without making it there with friends!
Cashing in Some “Presents”
Remember when I said that trips are better than presents? Well thankfully many people were listening (or reading my blog) and I have a good number of trips to cash in with very important people. First up is a trip to Paris in May with my mom and grandmother to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday. Unlike my first trip to Paris over five years ago, which involved a short weekend packed with touristy things, this time we are renting an apartment, staying for a week and soaking up the culture.
My brother surprised me this Christmas with an overnight in Stockbridge, MA, located in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. A picturesque part of the state, this historic small-town has been mentioned in James Taylor songs, but is also famous for housing the Norman Rockwell Museum, which I intend on visiting. The only problem is deciding which season to visit in…they are all so tempting!
Lastly, Max and I decided to skip presents this year for plane tickets. After much deliberating we have chosen Iceland for our summer vacation and this will serve not only as my new country of the year, but will also hopefully provide many opportunities to improve my travel photography.
While that covers about half the year, the rest of the year is still up in the air because as you can see, I need to leave room for spontaneity.
Where are you going in 2014? I would love to hear in the comments!